‘Angry and demoralised’ BBC staff fury at financial cuts after Dorries licence fee warning

Dan Wootton slams BBC licence fee as a 'stain' on our country

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Roger Mosey, a former head of BBC Television News, said journalists had told him about the “total demoralisation” of the newsroom and they were “just so angry” following major job cuts at BBC News and BBC World News. Mr Mosey said the BBC’s record of being transparent about its money-saving proposals was “poor”.

It comes after the corporation announced they would be merging both BBC News and BBC World News to create a single 24-hour TV channel expected to be launched in April 2023.

The cuts are part of measures to save money after Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries announced the licence fee will be frozen for the next two years.

But Mr Mosey attacked the plan, pointing out that the two channels served different purposes.

Writing in Radio Times, he said: “One is for the UK and one is for global viewers — and they don’t want the same thing. Gas bills are big news here, but don’t matter in Singapore; and political crises in Washington.

“What will be lost are stories from the UK that would never make an item on world news — the tales from the nations and regions, the scrutiny of parliament and devolved institutions and live coverage of events as they develop.”

He also revealed a representative was not put forward to publicly answer questions about the BBC’s decision to close down Radio 4 Extra.

Around 70 BBC staff from across all areas in the UK will lose their jobs as a result of the merger of both channels.

And around 20 jobs will be created in Washington.

The new channel, which will be called BBC News, will be broadcast from London during the day and Singapore and Washington DC overnight.

BC News’ digital director, Naja Nielsen, said at the time: “Our aim is to create the best live and breaking video news service in the world – on our web pages, our apps, on iPlayer and on our new TV news channel.

“The way audiences consume news is changing. In recent years, we’ve seen a huge surge in audiences coming to our live coverage, with 10s of millions following live pages when big stories and events unfold.

“As the world’s most trusted source of news, with a huge depth and breadth of expertise, the BBC is uniquely placed to offer audiences the best analysis and explanation as these stories are unfolding.

“So we are investing in new capability to cover breaking news stories, and our news channel and digital teams will work hand in hand to bring the best journalism to audiences both at home and abroad.”

The corporation also announced the end of BBC Four, Radio 4 Extra and CBBC as linear channels as part of major cut backs.

They are expected to move online to the iPlayer in the next few years as part of the broadcaster’s plans to become “digital first”.

The broadcaster has already undergone several rounds of redundancies and cuts over the past decade, prompted by below-inflation increases in the licence fee.

Tim Davie, who took over from Lord Tony Hall as director-general in September 2020, has overseen a slimming down of the corporation since starting in the role, with 1,200 staff leaving in the last 18 months.

The news comes on the back of the BBC needing to save a further £285 million in response to Ms Dorries’ announcement in January that the licence fee will be frozen for the next two years.

The corporation faces uncertainty over the future of the licence fee after Ms Dorries said a consultation over future BBC funding will soon begin.

She said she wants to find a new funding model before the current deal expires in 2027 because it is “completely outdated”.

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